The purpose of this study was to investigate the performance of an ultrasound tomography (UST) prototype relative to
magnetic resonance (MR) for imaging overall breast anatomy and accentuating tumors relative to background tissue.
The study was HIPAA compliant, approved by the Institutional Review Board, and performed after obtaining the
requisite informed consent. Twenty-three patients were imaged with MR and the UST prototype. T1 weighted images
with fat saturation, with and without gadolinium enhancement, were used to examine anatomical structures and tumors,
while T2 weighted images were used to identify cysts. The UST scans generated sound speed, attenuation, and reflection
images. A qualitative visual comparison of the MRI and UST images was then used to identify anatomical similarities. A
more focused approach that involved a comparison of reported masses, lesion volumes, and breast density was used to
quantify the findings from the visual assessment. Our acoustic tomography prototype imaged distributions of fibrous
stroma, parenchyma, fatty tissues, and lesions in patterns similar to those seen in the MR images. The range of
thresholds required to establish tumor volume equivalency between MRI and UST suggested that a universal threshold for isolating masses relative to background tissue is feasible with UST. UST has demonstrated the ability to visualize and characterize breast tissues in a manner comparable to MRI. Thresholding techniques accentuate masses relative to background anatomy, which may prove clinically useful for early cancer detection.